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Gray Areas Magazine


GRAY AREAS MAGAZINE DVD REVIEWS MAY/JUNE 1999


REVIEWS BY NETTA GILBOA & CHRISTOPHER SCHANOT

 

DVD titles are reviewed using either a Panasonic A110 or a Creative Labs Encore PC-DVD (using the latest drivers) which is installed in a Pentium II 300 MHz with 64mb RAM running Windows98. All titles are recent releases, even though some are of the films are years old. Because DVD is a new medium, older titles are being released as new product. This will be true for some time to come.

AFTER DARK MY SWEET (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 114 minutes) Jason Patric, Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern star in this highly erotic thriller about a kidnapping gone wrong. An ex-cop and a widow hire an ex-boxer to kidnap someone without realizing he is an escapee from a mental institution. He turns the tables on them and takes control of the situation with results no one originally intended. The DVD contains only Dolby Digital sound and chapter search, but nothing more is really needed here as the plot is quite self-explanatory without extras. Well done compared to other erotic thrillers in the genre.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Artisan Entertainment Inc., 129 minutes) From the same people who made Merlin comes this retelling of the classic children's story with help from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Recently shown on television, the film stars Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lloyd, Gene Wilder, Martin Short, Peter Ustinov and George Wendt. Sure to delight all ages, the only criticism here is that the film is so good you wish it wouldn't end. The DVD contains a digitally mastered standard presentation of the film (4:3), Dolby Digital Stereo sound, interactive menus, classic illustrations, trailer, production notes, cast and crew information and chapter search. Highly recommended.

AMISTAD (DreamWorks Pictures, 155 minutes) Steven Spielberg directed true story which stars Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey. It's about a group of slaves who overtake the ship they are travelling on and try to return to their homeland. The ship gets seized and the slaves end up in prison awaiting trial for murder. The trial, which makes up a large portion of the film, is about the right to freedom. The DVD contains an anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, a behind-the-scenes featurette, theatrical trailer, cast and crew information, chapter search, and a four-page paper booklet inside the box with production information. This is a serious, superb film and a quality DVD release as well. Highly recommended for those interested in any of the actors, and/or the director, as well as history fans and those interested in civil rights and freedom.

COMPLETE AERO-KICKBOXING SYSTEM, THE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 83 minutes) This progressive workout tape includes three programs led by Fairlie Arrow. Included are 10 in-depth martial arts fundamental movements, 7 stretching techniques and 17 educational screens. This is a superb introduction to martial arts and kickboxing and chapter search makes picking up where you left off a breeze. The DVD even includes Dolby Digital sound for those who like to exercise near a home theatre system. A unique title highly recommended for those interested in what it offers.

CONDORMAN (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 90 minutes) Michael Crawford, Oliver Reed, and Barbara Carrera star in this Disney film about a comic book writer who falls in love with a Russian agent and helps her defect so he can be with her. Her old beau, another KGB agent, has no intention of letting her get away and he sets out to foil the writer's plans. The writer ends up behaving like his character, Condorman, and the characters use many wacky disguises and high-tech gadgets as they interact. The DVD includes choice of widescreen (2.35:1) and standard presentations of the film, Dolby Digital Stereo sound, chapter search and a paper booklet inside the box with production information. This cute family film is ideal for all ages.

CUSTER OF THE WEST (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 141 minutes) Robert Shaw, Jeffrey Hunter and Ty Hardin star in this western film which examines the life of hero General George Custer. Examining his thinking and motivations, the film follows him as he goes West to take over the 7th Cavalry, drives an Indian tribe off their reservation and testifies before Congress about graft and corruption. He then returns to his assignment and begins his trip to Little Big Horn. The DVD offers choice of widescreen (2.20:1) or standard presentations, Dolby Digital sound, and chapter search. This will delight those interested in the Western film genre, American history, and/or epic films.

DOSE HERMANOS: SHADOW OF THE INVISIBLE MAN (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P.) Former Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten teams up with Bob Bralove here to provide a musical title which uses the latest technology in music, recording techniques and computer generated graphics to provide a psychedelic experience unique to DVD. The disc features 5.1 and 2 Track Stereo mixes, a performance history, bios and discography, an introduction called "Before You Dose," chapter search and a four-page booklet with information on each track. This will delight Deadheads, as well as those interested in psychedelic music, great use of keyboards, and computer graphics.

DRAGONBALL Z: SNAKE WAY (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 65 minutes) This anime title contains three animated episodes from the popular Japanese TV show. Included are: "Home For Infinite Losers," "Princes Snake's Hospitality" and "Escape From Piccolo." The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, English dialogue, chapter search and a paper booklet listing other episodes available. Although aimed at children three and up, this has wide appeal for all ages and is recommended for those who enjoy and/or collect anime.

EBONY IVORY & JADE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 80 minutes) This cult film is about a group of female athletes who are kidnapped and sold as slaves. The film is full of nonstop action and fight scenes as the women escape and seek revenge. The DVD contains a standard presentation of the film, Dolby Digital Mono sound, and chapter search. The disc itself is a color picture disc. This will appeal to those who love martial arts films, films with strong female characters and/or 70s classics.

FILM-FEST: VOLUME 1 ISSUE 1 (BroadcastDVD, 130 minutes) From the creators of Short Cinema Journal comes this new DVD-only magazine aimed at film buffs. Included in this issue is coverage of Sundance, Cannes, and other alternative film festivals. There are interviews with people like Tim Short, Sheryl Crow, and Robert Redford, actual shorts shown at the festival, clips of movies coming out soon, and a good sense of what it's like to attend. The DVD includes Dolby Digital sound, interactive menus, web extras, behind-the-scenes footage and chapter search. This is a very promising new series which should not be missed by those interested in either cinema or celebrity watching. For information on ordering visit http://www.broadcastdvd.com

FOR LOVE OF IVY (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 101 minutes) Sidney Poitier, Beau Bridges, Abbey Lincoln and Carroll O'Connor star in this delightful romantic comedy. It's about a family who decides to play matchmaker to their housekeeper after she announces plans to leave and change her career. They search for and ultimately find the ideal man for her, and them, but things don't work out as they had planned. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) or standard presentations of the film, Dolby Digital sound, chapter search, and a paper miniature reproduction of the poster for the original theatrical release of the film. Well done.

GLEAMING THE CUBE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 105 minutes) Christian Slater, Steven Bauer and Richard Herd star in this action-thriller about a skateboarding fan whose path crosses with an international contraband ring after they murder his brother. The film is full of skateboarding stunts and chase scenes as well as nonstop action. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, cast and crew filmographies, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This is not to be missed if you like skateboarding, or are a fan of Christian Slater.

IN DREAMS (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 100 minutes) Annette Bening, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea and Robert Downey, Jr. star in this thriller about a woman whose dreams become haunted by a serial killer who has moved to her town. While she is able to predict his every move, no one believes her. Finally she decides to confront the killer, alone, to make peace with her dreams. The DVD includes an anamorphic widescreen print of the film. 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, production notes, theatrical trailer, cast and filmmakers' bios, chapter search and a four-page booklet. This is a superb film, which is recommended to those who like thrillers, are interested in serial killers and/or dreams, and who like any or all of the actors.

ISLAND AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD, THE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 94 minutes) David Hartman and Donald Sinden star in this adventure film sure to delight fans of Jules Verne. The plot involves an archaeologist who agrees to help someone find their missing son. There are only two clues, and using them the rescue party ends up finding a lost Viking kingdom hidden behind dense volcanic clouds. Can they rescue the boy from there? The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.66:1) and standard presentations, Dolby Digital sound, chapter search and a four-page booklet with production information. This rarely seen film is a nice change from some of today's faster paced action films. If you enjoy adventure films which rely on plot development instead of only lavish special effects, this is ideal for you.

JOHNSONS, THE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 98 minutes) Combining horror with mystery, this film stars Monique Van De Ven, Esmee El La Bretoniere, and Kenneth Herdigein. The plot involves a women assigned to photograph the marshes of southern Holland who brings her daughter along because the girl is experiencing terrifying nightmares about seven little boys who smear blood. Meanwhile a professor uncovers a legendary myth about the ancient god Xangadix who gives birth to seven sons who are to impregnate their sister to create a creature who will destroy the world. The professor must now find and save the girl to prevent the downfall of mankind. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, audio commentary track, theatrical trailer, talent bios, chapter search and choice of English dubbed or Dutch language track with English subtitles. The disc itself features full-color graphics. This is an interesting film from before the days of slasher films, and will delight those who enjoy a good mystery along with their dose of screen violence.

JUNIOR BONNER (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 110 minutes) Steve McQueen stars in this Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah. The plot involves an injured rodeo star who goes to visit his family. Upon arriving he discovers his father is hospitalized. He decided to battle the same bull who injured him again, to try to win the prize money so that his father can have his dream of a ranch in Australia. The DVD contains choice of widescreen and standard presentations of the film, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. This is a classic Western film which will delight those who love the genre, as well as fans of Steve McQueen.

KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, THE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 109 minutes) Ben Gazzara stars in this powerful action-thriller about a nightclub owner who is a compulsive gambler. He falls into debt and is pressured by a mobster to commit murder in order to settle it. The DVD contains a four-page booklet with an analysis of the film, and chapter search. It's a deep film that will be enjoyed by fans of Gazzara, and/or director John Cassavetes as well as those interested in portrayals of gamblers.

KING COBRA (Trimark Home Video, 100 minutes) Offering "30 feet of pure terror," this horror film is about a snake on the loose which has been bred to combine traits of both a king cobra and a rattlesnake. This would be a great double bill with Anaconda, and is highly recommended to horror fans who want something to unwind with for two hours. The DVD includes a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film, Dolby Surround sound, interactive menus, chapter search, trailer, production commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and foreign subtitles. Predictable plot, but well done for its genre.

LIFE OF BRIAN (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 93 minutes) From the comedy team of Monty Python comes this comedy about a peasant named Brian. Born at about the same time, and in the same general location, as Jesus Christ, Brian briefly attracts the attention of three wise men who believe he may be the Messiah. He becomes too popular and seeks to escape fame. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, talent bios, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search.

MERRY WAR, A (DVD International) Richard E. Grant and Helena Bonham Carter star in this comedy adapted from a George Orwell novel. This sleeper was critically acclaimed but overlooked in theatres and offers many extras to enhance the film. The DVD contains a letterboxed presentation of the film (1.85:1), audio commentary by the director and screenwriter, audio interview with the films composer, isolated score on a separate audio channel, theatrical trailers, information on George Orwell, cast and production biographies and chapter search. Very witty and clearly intended at adults, this won't amuse children but will probably delight most intelligent adults bored with the average mindless fare offered in today's films. Well done.

MONUMENT AVENUE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 94 minutes) Denis Leary, Colm Meaney, Famke Janssen and Martin Sheen star in this thriller about friendships in the subculture of organized crime. A car thief working for a mobster finds that the mob has killed members of his own family. Does he defend his family, or obey the code of silence? The DVD includes Dolby Surround sound and chapter search. Full of action and emotion, this will appeal to those who liked Goodfellas and other mob films, as well as fans of any or all of the actors.

MURIEL'S WEDDING (Miramax Home Entertainment, 105 minutes) This entertaining comedy focuses on a small-town girl who no one has ever paid much attention to. She and a friend travel to the big city for some excitement and she ends up engaged to a popular sports hero. Suddenly everyone is interested in her, and she discovers it's not all it's cracked up to be. The DVD includes Dolby Stereo Surround sound, chapter search and an Abba music video.

MY SCIENCE PROJECT (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 95 minutes) Dennis Hopper, John Stockwell, Fisher Stevens and Danielle Von Zerneck star in this sci-fi comedy about a student who is behind in completing his science project. Given an ultimatum, he looks for a piece of junk in a junk yard, but instead finds a way to access the past, present and future via time warping. The DVD includes choice of widescreen (2.35:1) or standard presentations of the film. Dolby Digital Stereo sound, and chapter search.

PARENTS (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 81 minutes) Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt and Sandy Dennis star in this combination black comedy and horror film. It's about a ten-year-old child who is served "leftovers" so often at meals that he begins to suspect his parents are up to no good. Behind this all-American family lies a horrible secret as it turns out the parents murder people and eat them. The DVD contains cast and crew filmographies, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This will be enjoyed by those who love cult movies such as Eating Raoul, or films about cannabilism, as well as fans of any of the actors. Well done.

POKEMON: POKE FRIENDS (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P.) In this volume of anime from the popular TV series the gang discovers a spa for injured Pokemon, learn a lesson in loyalty and run into a gang of delinquent Squirtle that have united with the evil Team Rocket to cause trouble. Episodes included are: "Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village," "Charmander - The Stray Pokemon" and "Here Comes The Squirtle Squad." The DVD includes Pokerap, chapter search, a paper comic book and a collectible trading card. Well done for children of all ages, and adults who love anime.

POKEMON: THUNDER SHOCK (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P.) One of the more popular Japanese anime cartoons has another volume out. This time the Pokemon have evolved and battles with them are more intense. The characters also go on a cruise with several other Pokemons and their trainers, but all is not quite right and they suspect Team Rocket of setting them up. The DVD contains three TV episodes, titled "Mystery At The Lighthouse," "Electric Shock Showdown," and "Battle Aboard The St. Anne." Also included is Pokerap, chapter search, a paper comic book inside the box and a coupon for a sweepstakes entry. This is a very cute show for all ages, and one that will interest boys and girls equally. Well done.

PREDATORS OF THE ANIMAL WORLD (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 45 minutes) Focusing mainly on large cats, this documentary includes stunning footage of animals rarely seen and even less often photographed and shown to the public. Also included are sea creatures, reptiles and birds of prey. The DVD includes chapter search, information on geographical habitats, killer animals, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. Highly recommended for those who love animals of all kinds.

PREHISTORIC WOMEN (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 90 minutes) Also known as Slave Girls, this unrated film is part of the acclaimed Hammer Collection. Starring Martine Beswick, Edina Ronay and Michael Latimer, the plot involves a big game hunter who gets captured by a hostile tribe. A lightning bolt hits the temple in which he is being held hostage, and he runs through it and enters a prehistoric world in which the leaders regard men as inferior to women. He resists the advances of the Queen which causes a riot and leaves him desperate to get out and back to the world he knows. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), Dolby Digital mono sound, theatrical trailer, chapter search, TV spots and a World of Hammer episode titled "Lands Before Time."

PRIZZI'S HONOR (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 129 minutes) Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and Anjelica Huston star in this superb comedy about a mafia man and a hit woman who falls for each other. The twist is they are each supposed to be murdering the other. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) or standard presentations of the film, Dolby Digital Stereo sound, a paper booklet with production information and chapter search. One of Nicholson's better films, this is highly recommended to his fans and/or to those who enjoy comedies.

SECRET KGB UFO FILES, THE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 100 minutes) Roger Moore narrates this documentary about KGB involvement in monitoring UFOs. The DVD includes trivia, biographies, chapter search and a four-page booklet showing other Madacy titles available. Originally made for television, this will no doubt appeal to both UFO and Roger Moore fans and is worth having as a nice compliment to other titles which focus on UFO discoveries by Americans.

SEX IS... (Water Bearer Films, Inc.) This award-winning gay film is a documentary about sex and sexuality. Includes are interviews with 15 gay men whose careers range from church pastor to porn star. They talk about their daily lives, how they knew they were gay, coming out, prejiduce against them, etc. This is mandatory viewing if you are gay, know someone who is, enjoy good documentaries and/or want to see sex talked about out loud. Highly recommended.

SHADOAN (DVD, Ltd.) This combination DVD-ROM and DVD video game works on either format, and on either PC or Mac computers as well. It's an interactive, animated adventure game which 300 animators created over 70,000 animation cels to produce, working with a budget of three million dollars. You must explore the land of Shadoan and gather five lost pieces of an ancient amulet which are needed to destroy the evil wizard Torlock. Once he is dead, you reunite the Prince and Princess to complete the game. The DVD features over 100 minutes of video, two levels of difficulty, 5.1 DTS Surround sound, 2.0 Dolby Digital sound, a whopping seven subtitled languages and a strategy guide with game tips. The animation here is on par with full-length movies, and this is based on a hit arcade game called Thayer's Quest. This is highly recommended for hours of fun, and not to be missed by animation fans or those who enjoy computer adventure games and RPGs. Absorbing for all ages and one of the few games available which has equal appeal to men and women.

SILKWOOD (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 131 minutes) Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher star in this film directed by Mike Nicholson about the mysterious death of Karen Silkwood. Silkwood was a real person who worked in a plant which produced highly radioactive plutonium. After being exposed she found her company didn't offer help. She became a whistleblower who threatened the company, the industry and the governmental agencies which police the industry. One day Silkwood was to meet a reporter and never showed up. She was never seen again. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, Dolby Digital Stereo sound, chapter search and a four page booklet with production notes. This is a superb film about a very important woman, and is highly recommended for those who are interested in conspiracy theories, whistleblowing, and the nuclear industry.

SIRENS (Miramax Home Entertainment, 94 minutes) Hugh Grant, Elle MacPherson, Tara Fitzgerald and Sam Neill star in this comedy about a young minister who sets off on a mission to stop an artist whose nude paintings are causing a nationwide scandal. When he meets and interacts with the artist and his models, however, they begin to seduce him with temptation instead. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film, Dolby Surround sound and chapter search.

SWINGING CHEERLEADERS, THE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc, 91 minutes) Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon star in this 1970s drive-in cult favorite. It's about a reporter who goes undercover trying to expose female exploitation. She runs into more than she bargained for and the film is full of feminists, radicals, cheerleaders and corrupt authority figures. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.66:1), TV spots, Dolby Digital Mono sound, audio commentary, chapter search, a miniature reproduction of the original theatrical poster and a full color picture disc. This is highly recommended to those who love 1970s cult and exploitation films as a classic example from the height of that time period.

TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 85 minutes) Woody Allen directed and stars in this comedy about an inept bank robber. The film follows upbringing, his love life, his crimes, his jail time, and more. It's very, very humorous and surely one of Woody Allen's best films even though this was made so long ago. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.66:1) or standard versions, Dolby Digital sound, chapter search and a miniature reproduction of the original theatrical poster. The print of the film was noticeably superb on my computer's monitor, compared to prints of the film I have seen over the years. This is highly recommended for anyone interested in Woody Allen, comedy and/or criminals.

TENCHI IN TOKYO: A NEW LEGEND (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 75 minutes) This Japanese Anime series continues with three episodes titled "Tenchi Anniversary," "The Guardians of Old," and "Ryoko's Big Date." In these episodes Tenchi returns to his hometown to celebrate an anniversary and finds that all of his girls' pendants are missing. Who is the thief? He and his friends also explore an old ruin in Tokyo and fall into an old cavern. They discover an empty sarcophagus which is 3500 years old, along with two hostile Jural Guardians who seek the contents. The DVD includes 2.0 Dolby Digital sound, interactive menu, Japanese and English versions of the audio, conceptual drawings and chapter search. If you like anime this is a must, although these particular episodes will probably interest children more than adults.

TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER (Palm Pictures/Manga Entertainment, Inc., 90 minutes) This sequel to the cyberpunk Tetsuo II is about a Tokyo businessman whose son is kidnapped by a street gang. Pushed over the edge, the man transforms himself into a half-man/half-machine creature who battles the gang to get his son back. Sure to delight those who love cult films, cyberpunk themes, sci-fi and thrillers this is a cross between a Japanese Blade Runner and The Terminator. The DVD includes a digitally remastered unrated director's cut of the film, director biography, stereo sound, trailers, production credits, chapter search, web link and Manga Video fan club information. Highly recommended.

TIME BANDITS (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 115 minutes) John Cleese, Sean Connery and Shelley Duvall star in this film produced and directed by Terry Gilliam. The plot involves a group of bandits who steal the map of the universe and then travel to meet legendary people such as Napoleon, Robin Hood and Agamemnon. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Stereo sound, theatrical trailer, talent bios, and chapter search. This is a delight for those who enjoy any of these actors, and/or the special sense of humor Monty Python members bring to any project they take on. Well done.

TOKYO FIST (Palm Pictures/Manga Entertainment, Inc., 85 minutes) Fans of action-horror films will enjoy this sequel/continuation to Tetsuo II:Body Hammer. The plot involves an insurance salesman whose love life is turned upside down after he meets an old classmate who is now a boxing pro with emotional problems. His fiance falls for the boxer and he starts taking lessons out of jealousy. The film then raises the question of whether ultimately a blow to the body hurts more or less than one to the soul. The DVD contains a digitally remastered unrated director's cut of the film, interactive menus, Dolby Digital Pro Logic Surround sound, chapter search, web link, director biography, trailers, and information about Manga Video's fan club. This is a must for those who love cult films, boxing, and/or have enjoyed the Tetsuo films.

TO PLAY OR DIE (Water Bearer Films, Inc., 50 minutes) This psychological thriller, presented in Dutch with English subtitles, is about a boy attending a private school where bullying fellow students and sadomasochistic games are common. The boy invites the leader of the tormentors to his parents house when they are away, intending to seek revenge. However, the bully gets the upper hand. Integrated into the plot are examples of the loneliness and victimization that many gay youths experience, but rather than preach the film uses those elements to make the plot more suspenseful. Highly recommended.

TRAVEL THE WORLD BY TRAIN: SOUTH AMERICA (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 60 minutes) This travel collection focuses on five continents and 55 countries. In this episode the train rides through Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina. The journey includes a steam engine train in Paraguay, reptile preserves, the ancient runes of Machu picchu in Peru, the awe-inspiring Andes, and the tranquil fields of Brazil. The DVD also includes Dolby Digital sound, Japanese audio and chapter search. A coupon is inside the disc for a free carry-on bag with the purchase of all ten discs in the series. Highly recommended if you long to travel here but can't, are curious to see what other parts of the world are like, and/or love trains.

TRAVEL THE WORLD BY TRAIN: AFRICA (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 60 minutes) This travel series continues with its best episode to date. You travel, while watching it, to Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa while being exposed to wild animals, the Nile, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the great pyramids, shopping in local markets and the famous Blue Train in South Africa. Recognizing most people will never travel to all of these locations, this is an ideal way to sit home and see what you are missing. The DVD includes English and Japanese audio, chapter search, and a coupon inside the box for a free carry-on bag if you purchase all ten titles in the series. Highly recommended for the armchair traveler.

TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc,, 80 minutes) Janine Reynault and Rossana Yanni reprise their roles from Kiss Me Monster and investigate an artist whose work portrays scenes of violent death. One of his pieces looks an awfully lot like a girl who recently disappeared. As the women get closer and closer to solving the mystery of the girl's disappearance, they find themselves in danger. The DVD contains a standard presentation of the film, theatrical trailer, Dolby Digital sound, chapter search and the disc itself is a picture disc. Well done.

ULTIMATE STRIKE FORCE, THE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 60 minutes) This documentary focuses on the real Top Guns, including fighters, bombers and attack aircrafts. Featuring Dolby Digital sound and superb footage, this is a chance to see fighters soaring at death defying speeds. The DVD includes 18 informational screens, 8 fact filled exposes, chapter search and a four-page paper booklet showing other Madacy titles available.

VENGEANCE OF SHE, THE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 101 minutes) Part of the acclaimed Hammer Collection of films, this unrated film stars John Richardson, Olinka Berova and Edward Judd. The plot involves a woman who is plagued by voices which call her Ayesha and she is also drawn into travelling east. She meets a man who travels with her and upon arriving at the lost city of Kuma she is greeted by the people there as the reincarnation of Queen Ayesha. Her companion is imprisoned, and told that the high priest plans to experiment on the woman to try to obtain the secret of immortality. Can he escape in time to save her and reveal the truth? The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.66:1), Dolby Digital mono sound, theatrical trailer, TV spots, chapter search and a World of Hammer episode called "Lands Before Time."

VERY NATURAL THING, A (Water Bearer Films, Inc., 85 minutes) This breakthrough film is considered the first feature film about gay life to be made by an openly gay man and to received commercial distribution. Released on DVD to commemorate its 25th anniversary, the story involves a 26-year-old man who leaves the priesthood and moves to New York City in search of a gay love relationship. He becomes a school teacher and falls in love with an advertising executive and the film goes on to show their relationship. It's sad to think how few films since have explored gay relationships, and how few of those have been made by or written by gay people. Highly recommended.

VIKING QUEEN, THE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 91 minutes) Part of the Hammer collection, this unrated title stars Don Murray and Carita. The plot involves a female leader who rules ancient Britain during a time of Roman domination. While the Roman leader is distracted, his second-in-command begins to extort and be cruel to her people. She leads a rebellion and must ultimately choose between the Roman leader she has feelings for or the safety of her people. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital mono sound, theatrical trailer, chapter search and a World of Hammer episode called "Lands Before Time."

WHATEVER IT TAKES (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 101 minutes) Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Andrew Dice Clay, and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson star in this action film about two police officers who go undercover in the world of professional wrestling in order to expose illegal steroid use and sales. The DVD includes no extras besides chapter search and the theatrical trailer, but the plot is quite self-explanatory so nothing else is needed here. This will appeal to fans of the stars, those who like action film involving police, and anyone interested in illegal drugs and/or steroid use.

Y2K: PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR HOME PREPAREDNESS (Simitar Entertainment, Inc., 67 minutes) Although the focus of this is on Y2K paranoia, there are some very valuable tips here to prepare for any kind of disaster such as flood, earthquake or tornado. This gives you an idea of what supplies you will need, and what the worst things that could go wrong locally are. Topics include pets, power, water, transportation, medical emergencies, and financial concerns. The DVD includes Dolby Digital sound, interactive menus, a Y2K workbook, program facts and chapter search.

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